Quiz: Does your Kid Act Spoiled?

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This is the first in a two-part series.

Nobody wants a spoiled child. The image of  “Veruca Salt” (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl) comes to mind — the girl who wants and expects to have everything given to her. But, are there any unintentional ways in which parents indulge their children to the point where they start exhibiting spoiled behavior? Dr. Michele Borba, names a few behaviors to beware. If you think you and your child might benefit from a little tune-up, this Thursday Dr. Borba will share ways in which parents can help their Verucas turn virtuous. — Laurel Moglen, Managing Web Editor, TMC

by Dr. Michele Borba

There are four words that typically describe spoiled children. How is your child doing?  Here’s my four-word test for a spoiled kid that I shared on the TODAY show:


He can’t handle the word. He expects to get what she wants and usually does. Take my toy store test. Your child is walking down the toy aisle and wants a toy he doesn’t need. You say “no.” Can your kid handle “no” (or does he beg, nag or have a tantrum to get his way?)


She is self-centered and thinks the world revolves around her. She thinks more of herself than about others. She feels “entitled” and expects special favors and generally succeeds in getting them. He watches TV, instead of picking up his toys. She doesn’t like the dinner. You cook another meal just for her.


A spoiled kid is more into getting than receiving, because he has so much and he just wants more. He’s generally unappreciative and a bit greedy. You can’t think of what to give him for the holidays because he already has everything. He wants a new toy immediately after receiving one because he’s already tired of his gift. Do you feel more like an ATM machine than a parent?


A spoiled kid just can’t wait and wants things — stat. It’s just plain easier to give in to this child than to postpone her request. She interrupts when you’re on the phone and expects you to stop. And you do. She whines to get the cookie-n.o.w.-and can’t wait for after dinner.

Be honest…Do any of those words fit your child’s typical behavior? Any one word could indicate your child is moving into the “spoiled” category. Here is another quick test:  Do you think an outsider would consider your child spoiled? If so, it’s time for a serious makeover.

More from Dr. Borba on Thursday, with answers on how to curb and fix your child’s spoiled behavior!

Please share your thoughts/anecdotes/musings about this topic below in the comments section.  We love hearing from you!

The Mother Company aims to support parents and their children, providing thought-provoking web content and products based in social and emotional learning for children ages 3-6. Check out episodes of our “Ruby’s Studio” children’s video series,  along with our beautiful children’s booksappsmusichandmade dolls, and more.

Posted in: Behavioral Issues, Discipline, Expert Advice

Comments (4)

  1. Jessica

    My 3 year old does all the above but we do not give into her. Hoping it’s a phase because I’m not really sure where it’s coming from. She would rather be in trouble sit in time out or in her room or scream than accept not getting her way.

  2. Stephanie

    I definately don’t spoil my kids but my one child still can’t handle the word no when she asks for something, and I certainly do not give in! I am the mother who does not allow my child to get an ice cream from the ice cream truck every single time the truck comes to the park, and my kids freak out! I have seen other kids get every little thing they want and they never act out because they are never told no. So what gives?! My daughter also whines and cries all the time thinking that I am going to cave in, but I never do. I stay strong to my rules, but she still acts like if she keeps trying to break me in she will get her way eventually.. Not going to happen BUT she is driving me nuts with her behavior!!! N

  3. Tracy Garrick

    Everything I just read described my 11yr old son to a T and my 3yr daughter is following in the same foot steps. I will be the first to admitt I need help. I’m a single mom of two and I have a terrible time saying no or being a displinary. My son is a wonderful loving kind caring person and has a heart of gold but here in the past 6 months its gotten really bad. He raises his voice at me on a daily basis, doesn’t listen to me argues w/ anything and everything I say. Rolls his eyes at me, talks under is breath just completely disrespectful to me. I take full credit I’ve been his friend instead of his mom and its caught up to me. I know it’s a #1 priority to correct this horrible monster I’ve created between him and I. We’ve always been super close and still are but slowly sadly inching apart day by day. Just a week ago he didn’t like what my response was to something I can’t remember what was said but he got angry and turned to walk away from me and called me an idiot. My heart hit the ground. I’m failing my child, I’m failing as a mother and also failing to my 3yr old daughter as well. I knew then it was critical I become a mom not a friend so my children can grow to be good ppl because the rate I’m going they are headed down an ugly horrible path of heartbreak for them and myself. Only because im not displing like I should be but I don’t know how. It’s just me and my two children and they are my world my everything. I’m literally a 24/7 mom. I couldn’t tell you when I had a night to myself much less a shower or trip to the potty by myself. I’m in quite the predicament so pls I’m all ears to any help. I’m truly loss as a parent and how to get my children on the right path as well as myself. HELP

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